Maverick Traveler

Location Independence, Geo Arbitrage, Individual Freedom

Category: Maverick Mindset (page 2 of 4)

Life Is Easier And Simpler Outside The West

When it comes to a decision to alive abroad, it all comes down to whether you want to live in the West or live outside the West. It isn’t really about a certain country or city, it’s more about a particular lifestyle.

That has been my philosophy in a nutshell. And, for me, my whole living abroad experience has been about the “rawness” of living outside the West, away from its hyper-organized rules and regulations.

It all started in Brazil around ten years ago. I had just finished toiling away the best years of my life for a string of companies in Silicon Valley. I knew I needed a change. I knew I needed to do something. And I knew it had to be a drastic change, and not one where I would merely move to another city in the great US of A.

Brazil did the trick. While the country somewhat resembles a Western country: it’s populated by mostly European descedents who use iPhones and shop in huge shopping malls, Brazil is light years away from the tightly organized and boring feel you mostly find in places like the US and Western Europe.

After Brazil, I spent a bit of time in more organized—and boring—countries such as Spain and Denmark, before heading east to Lithuania and ultimately to Ukraine, a country where I was born and where I’ve been living on and off for the last four years.

I have a love and hate relationship with my former homeland. As an entitled Westerner who’s used to things like smiles and handholding—with a bit of humanity thrown in—it’s a place that at times frustrates me. But as someone who hates all the fakeness and bullshit that comes with the former, living in some ex-Soviet shithole of Ukraine has been somewhat refreshing.

Hit the ground running

One of the biggest differences between a comfortable Western country like US and a non-Western country like Ukraine is that it’s a lot easier to get settled in the latter than the former. 

Everything is simple without the run around. Once I landed and passed passport control, it took me all but ten minutes to secure a 4G sim card. No long term contracts or hidden fees.

Another ten minutes to rent an apartment in the center, in my favorite neighborhood. Again, no long-term contracts or hidden fees.

After settling into my new pad, I walked five minutes into my favorite gym. I had two choices for membership: pay for a visit or signup for a month. Knowing that I will be staying in this city for a while, I paid the monthly fee ($10) and walked into the lock room.

This applies to everything, all kinds of services, whether you’re looking to secure some sort of accommodation or join a great Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy.

No long term commitments, no hidden fees, no exorbitant cancellation charges that American companies (and other Western countries) have gotten so good at extracting out of you.

Landed at JFK and need a cellular plan? That would be $75/mo from AT&T Wireless in Terminal 7, thank you very much. Fuck that.

Tired of paying $100/mo for cable you never watch and want to cancel it and just have wifi service from the same provider? Good luck with that, because your friendly cable company won’t just let you take the $100, so you can pay $10 for wifi; you’ll have to pay a bit more for wifi instead.

Want to join a gym? That would be at least $25/mo and good luck cancelling it because they’ll make your life a living hell once you decide to stop giving them money.

Same goes for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training, a sport I’ve been practicing for around ten years all over the world. There’s an unspoken custom of the free visit to be free that’s honored by every academy I’ve been too. But only in America will you be “reminded” to signup for weeks on end a week after checking out a new school.

My family lives in New York, but I can’t picture myself living there even if someone put a gun to my head. Don’t get me wrong; I love the Big Apple. But I’d rather swallow nails then rent a long-term apartment there. Like, paying 3x monthly rent as a deposit, making sure the contract doesn’t have any hidden clauses that would wipe out my savings when I decide to move out and other nuisances. 

I can keep going, but you get the point. America is a business. Its religion is money. Great for making money, not so great when you’re the one others are hellbent making money from.

Now, of course, this isn’t applicable to every city in USA and heck, it isn’t even applicable to every country in the West, but it has been my unambiguous experience that no matter where you are, from Bali to Thailand, from Mexico City to Ukraine, from Rio de Janeiro to Lithuania, things are just simple and easy compared to its Western counterparts.

I remembered how difficult it was to rent an apartment in Copenhagen, Denmark. I couldn’t just rent any apartment; I had to sign a brand new lease in order to be “registered” there. (If you’re not registered with the city, you don’t exist.), but then I went to Lithuania and rented a beautiful apartment right in the middle of the old town within a week. No fuss. No muss. No problems.

Few places are easier to live than Lithuania. During my sojourn there, I enjoyed one of the fastest wifi connections in the world—a whopping 50MBit. The cost? $10/month. (That was three years ago, I think you can get 100mbit for like $15/mo now).

Once again, no hidden fees, no contracts, nothing at all to make your life even more miserable.

What makes the West “The West”? For one, it’s the standard of living. You get paid more cash in Las Vegas than in Chiang Mai and you get access to more shit.

Second, the government is stronger and more present. You’ll have a higher chance of getting a speeding ticket in northern California than in northern Thailand.

When the government is stronger, things are more organized. Taxes are collected. Roads are paved. Trains run on time. And more money is taken out of your pocket should you break some silly contract with your telco or your landlord. Lawyers gotta eat, too.

Have your cake and eat it, too

Now, of course, it’s not all peaches and cream in Brazil or Ukraine. When our refrigerator broke in Rio de Janeiro, my roommates and I waited four days for a repairman to fix it. When you have a disagreement with your landlord in Odessa, Ukraine, it’s you against your landlord; there’s no “small claims” court to hear your case.

Piss someone off in New York City and they may send you a “cease and desist” letter. Piss someone off in Kiev, Ukraine and they may send a burly man to your apartment or office.

In the West, everything is official. Everything needs to be done “by the book.” But outside the West, everything is personal. Relationships are established between people, not corporations. It’s not some nameless court who’ll hear your case; it’s Ivan, your next door neighbor.

In many ways, living in Ukraine still has this “rawness” to it that America had during the first part of the 20th century. Granted, I’m not in the capital—which is rapidly becoming more and more “developed”—but where I am, a man can simply live and be free, and if he doesn’t bother anyone, no one is going to bother him.

I experienced something similar in rural areas in places like Thailand, Indonesia and Colombia.

When I was living in Chiang Mai few years ago, I rented a car and spent a week driving around Northern Thailand. I didn’t break any speed limits, but I throughout the entire week, I didn’t see a single patrol car anywhere.

As someone who grew up in Brooklyn, it was refreshing not seeing a single police car for miles and miles, something that you will never see in New York City. I liked it. After all, I’m an adult, and I’ll take full responsibility for my driving.

But that’s not to say you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Cities like Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Tbilisi, Georgia are rapidly becoming go-to cities for all kinds of expats, especially those who’re tired of the West, with all of its rules and regulations, but also those who still seek the comfort and predictability of their former homelands.

Advice To My 21-Year-Old Self

Hello Little Maverick,

Today is your birthday. You turn the big “two one.” That means you’re old enough to drink. Congratulations! But there are more important issues at hand that I want to discuss with you today.

First of all, you can say that your life begins now. Anything that happened before, like your teenage years don’t really count because you were busy wasting time hanging out with your friends and doing stupid shit. In a year, you’ll graduate from college and your real life begins. That’s when you have to join the real world and, you know, get a job and, you know, make a living.

Now, look, Little Maverick, the job market is tricky. Depending on your skills and luck, you may find a job quickly or you may not find one for a couple of years and would need to switch jobs into a more lucrative field.

Most of your classmates and peers will follow a traditional path. They will graduate university, get a job, meet a woman, buy an expensive wedding ring, get married and have kids. Years later, many will divorce, but many will also stay together.

All of that is the standard path, and that’s available to you. But I want you to think differently. You see, because you’re so young, you’re in a unique position to carve a different path—your own path.

But that’s not the point. The point is that you don’t necessarily need to take this path and do what everyone else is doing. You can do something completely different. Think of it as a canvas with nothing on it. A blank canvas. Take a brush and draw on it anyway you want.

So, what should you do? That’s a great question. Actually, anything you want. First things first: let’s talk location. You may have been born and raised in the richest country on the planet (USA), but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should remain there. This may or may not surprise you, but there are countries around the world where you can live for a fraction of the price and enjoy the same (or even better) amenities. They also have much nicer weather and very friendly people.

For instance, let’s talk about Thailand. You can fly to Chiang Mai, rent a spacious studio apartment for only $250 per month. Then rent your own motorbike for only $50 per month. Co-working is like $50-100 per month. Food is super cheap. That’s it. Compare that to a place like San Francisco, where for $2,000/month, the only thing you’d be able to rent would be a small closet.

Thailand is just one example; pretty much anywhere outside the West you can have a very nice lifestyle while figuring out what you should do.

The beauty of living abroad is that you’ll get to experience a world that few people do—a world outside America and learn how the rest of the world works. Again, this may or may not surprise you, but many developing countries are growing like mushrooms and China will eclipse US soon. Even the countries with smaller economies are rapidly expanding and growing. While America will always be your home, it doesn’t mean you should always stay there.

Live in a new country, learn the local language and expand your horizons. This will only help you out.

Now that we covered the geographical aspects of this (geoarbitrage), let’s talk about what you should do in Thailand, Bali, Argentina, Lithuania or some other low cost country. The answer is simple: anything. Whatever you want. This is your chance to network, learn everything about making money, how businesses work (e.g., figuring out your niche, unique value proposition, marketing, sales, monetization).

Now, I have good news and bad news. First, the bad news. The bad news is that this takes time. Building a business is like learning how to ride a bike (or that 125cc scooter you just rented), and you’ll definitely fall of the thing and fail many times. The good news is that there’s no rush: you have plenty of time to test stuff out, so it’s only a matter of time before things “click” and you succeed.

Remember, you’re only 21-years-old. And there’s really no difference between a 21-year-old who failed a bunch of businesses, a 24-year-old and a 29-year-old. It doesn’t really matter if you need to start completely over, at say, 30-years-old or even 33 years old. None of that matters.

You may not understand this now, but later in life things will get tougher. Perhaps you’ll have other commitments, a family of your own, aging parents, health issues, or other things. As you get older, you’ll realize that you’ll lose some of that edge you have when you’re young and fearless. Pulling all nighters would be out of question. You’ll also become less tolerant to risk. Even something that’s as mundane as a startup would seem foreign to you as you get older.

That means now is the time to start, to learn, to fuck up, fuck up some more, and then rinse and repeat. Banish words like stability and security from your lexicon. They shouldn’t mean anything to you. If you take my advice and live abroad, then saving something like $2,000-$3,000 should last you at least six months while you’re trying to figure things out and testing different business ideas.

Maybe you’ll end up building something great, or maybe you’ll decide that this whole location-independent lifestyle isn’t for you and you’d rather build a traditional career in a large company. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the latter, it’s just you need to know what you want and what you’re good at.

There’s a couple of other things to keep in mind. First of all, no one knows what they’re doing. Business is not a science. It’s more of an art. That means there’s no “certain” and “right” way of doing things. It’s all about experimenting and iterating. You must become comfortable with uncertainty.

Fortunately, it’ll get easier over time. After some experience, you’ll discover a certain pattern that’s applicable to all businesses whether you’re selling mattresses or SaaS (software as a service) products. That’s why it’s true what they say, “The first dollar is the hardest.” Making the first buck is hard, but going from $100 to $1000 and $10,000 is much, much easier.

Secondly, and most importantly, stop caring what others think. It doesn’t matter. Everyone has their personal opinion on pretty much anything and everything, and there’s not enough bandwidth and energy in the world to be concerned what everyone thinks about a particular topic. Like I said, it doesn’t matter. What matters is what you think and whether it’ll help the bottom line.

So, there you have it. Embrace risk. Embrace a more unconventional path. Experiment. If it works, iterate. If it doesn’t, do something else. Fail. Get up and try again. Do it now before you’re too old and less risk-averse.

Now, you have all the advice you need. If you need anything else from me, you know where to find me.

Best of luck to you,

Big “Bro” Maverick

After traveling around the world for the past ten years, I’ve gotten pretty good at picking up foreign languages very quickly. This Friday, I’m releasing my complete video course on language hacking. The goal isn’t fluency, but accelerated learning so that you can become conversational very quickly. Stay tuned for more information.

Life Is A Series Of Experiments

I’m a planner by nature. I love planning long term. I can’t help it. As in months and years. For instance, this month I’ll work on this. Next month I’ll work on that. November is for a specific project. December is for another project. The first six months of next year will be spent working on a particular project.

Since I work for myself and don’t adhere to a particular structure, planning gives me a certain sense of sanity and predictability in an otherwise chaotic and unpredictable world. It let’s me know that if I just stick to my plans, that things will turn out alright, that things will work out. It gives me comfort in knowing that all this uncertainty will fall into place.

However, one thing I recently learned—accidentally—is that incredible breakthroughs usually occur as a result of something completely unplanned and random. They occur as a result of an experiment of some sort that has nothing to do with the things you were working on.

Last year, I was working on a software project with a partner. We had everything planned out, the business plan, the development cycle, the launch, etc. Everything to the minute detail. Everything was done according to plans but the results were lackluster. Although the business model was well planned, there was still something wrong.

So, we decided to switch gears and try something else. We decided to do something that we’d never planned. We decided to add a new random feature. It was an experiment. If it didn’t work, then no harm done, we’d just roll things back and go back to how things were.

Amazingly, the experiment turned out successful. The customers loved the feature. After more deliberation, we decided to implement this feature on a more permanent basis. Something that was purely ad-hoc and just an idea at that time became the centerpiece of our business model.

Experiments aren’t just useful in business endeavors; they should be implemented in life in general. The problem is that people are generally afraid of experimenting and deviating from their plans or status-quo. Why is that? The main reasons is because people tie their work to their ego and identity.

The power of identity

When we tie what we do to our identity, our actions become rigid and uncompromising, just like our identity. We refuse to experiment and try new things because we don’t easily change. We are who we are and since our actions are tied to us, they’re also pretty fixed.

It’s like being a shy, nerdy kid all your life and then one day decide to start going out to clubs and posting pictures of yourself on Facebook. Suddenly, you changed your identity and your friends noticed. There will be comments and feedback, both positive and negative.

But you’re not your experiments. You are still you, while your experiments are something else. They don’t represent you. They’re temporary and fleeting in nature. They may last a couple of days, or a couple of months. And if they deliver the results you need, then you integrate them into whatever you’re doing. If they don’t work out as planned, you discard them. They’re never tied to your identity because they don’t represent who you are.

The problem with planning is that you’re essentially having blind faith that things will work out in some distant (or not so distant) future. Experiments help you break out of this. They provide an important spark of imagination and freedom from an otherwise monotonous lifestyle. They’re the anti-thesis of monotone long term planning of things that may never materialize.

If you want to build a business, don’t aim for the sky and try to build a Fortune 500 company from the get-go. Think small. Open up shop (physical or online) and begin selling stuff. If people like what you offer—if what you’re selling solves their problems—they’ll gladly give you their money and you’ll become successful. Later on, depending on what your customers want, you can begin offering new products and services. In fact, that’s actually how most successful brands and companies grew from their humble beginnings. They do it step by step, via experiments.

If you want to change your life, don’t plan the next five of years; take baby steps. Plan a trip to Brazil for a couple of months. When I flew to Brazil on a one-way ticket, I never anticipated that I will stay there for two and a half years. I didn’t know anyone there. I had no business in the country. All I said to myself was that I will go to a new country for a month or so and see what happens. Two and a half years later I left the country, where I credit spending one of the best times of my life.

While I certainly loved Brazil, it’s completely possible that Brazil might not be for you.

Taking risks is important. Life without risks is a conventional, boring, stagnant life. When you don’t deviate from a defined path, you’re simply doing what others have done before you; and there can be no fortune when you follow a well-defined path.

But taking too many unnecessary risks is also not prudent. The solution is to take small, calculated risks. Follow along a well-defined path, but also deviate with a mixture of experiments. Try that idea that you’ve been putting off for months or years. If it works, that’s great. If it doesn’t, then no harm done.

Any successful life is constructed via a series of small, calculated experiments. Tolerable risk gives life meaning and moves things forward. Believe me, you’ll be surprised at the outcome.

The objective is to do things organically, to grow and move forward as a result of natural demand for your skills and services, not because of some one-sided planning that may never materialize because nobody cares what you do and whether you exist or not. That’s how you grow, that’s how you move forward.

Experimenting has been a huge game changer for me. It has changed the way I think, act and behave. It has given me a true sense of freedom that I simply didn’t have before when I lived a more “structured” life.

Experiments don’t need to be complex; that’ll simply defeat their purpose. Keep it simple and playful. Remember when you were a kid and did things because you felt like it? When you didn’t care what others thought of your actions? When you never questioned your actions from the point of view of others?

Whenever I feel I’m stuck with something, I know that it’s time to experiment. I know that I need to try something new, something that goes against my pre-existing beliefs and thoughts. If I feel doing something makes me uncomfortable because it threatens who I am as a person, then I know I must do it.

Start by disconnecting your identity from your actions. Experiment with the things you always wanted to do but were afraid to because how you felt you might be perceived by others. To succeed, you must break out of the straightjacket of predictability. Experiments show you the way.

This Friday, I will be releasing my long-awaited video course on building your own location-independent business in an area you’re passionate in from scratch. It’s a course that I’ve been working on for almost a year and represents my best work yet. Stay tuned for a special weekend promotion that includes great bonuses, content and support.

The Rise Of The Parallel Nomadic Entrepreneur Economy

When choosing a city to live, an important criteria is the ability to work and create capital. This means the city needs to have fast Internet, have a nice coffee shop culture and be relatively safe so that I’m not worried someone will come and take my laptop while I’m building my next business. Additionally, a nice warm sunny weather doesn’t hurt as well.

One such city that ticks most boxes is San Francisco, a city where I spent a decade living while working for all kinds of different tech companies, big, small and all in between. San Francisco is a great city to live thanks to its rolling hills, cozy coffee shops and a wide variety of restaurants. The presence of tech means that SF is a fantastic place to start an online business. The city is also blessed with great weather, so it’s never too cold or too hot.

Except for one thing: San Francisco is expensive. Unbelievably, bank-crushing, out-of-this-world, call-your-banker-to-get-a-second-mortgage expensive. When I lived there, I rented a nice apartment for $1,500 per month. That was around eight years ago.

Today, renting a decently-sized 1-bedroom in an average neighborhood would set you back anywhere from $3,500 to $4,500 per month. That’s a lot of money. Even if you’re a senior code monkey for a high-flying tech company that’s paying you a shitload, you’d still most likely need a roommate to afford rent (many people are moving back to their parents). Of course, I’m assuming you’ll find an apartment in the first place—and San Francisco won’t have a popular revolt soon.

I find this absolutely mind-boggling. There should be no reason why a knowledgeable and well-qualified member of society shouldn’t be able to afford to rent his own apartment. There should be no reason why someone with a decent job should struggle while trying to maintain a sane way of living. No reason whatsoever. While SF is a decent city, it doesn’t warrant such sky-high rents and cost of living.

San Francisco for the masses

Instead, I want you to imagine a city that’s very similar to San Francisco, but where your money—the money you’re making with your labor and ingenuity—goes much further. Much, much further. Where you don’t need to share an apartment with some random stranger when you’re well in your 30s or 40s. Where you don’t need to move back with your parents just so that you have money left over for food. Where you can work hard and honestly and be rewarded with a very comfortable standard of living.

Imagine a city where everything is easy. A city replete with amazing restaurants, bars, lounges, shopping centers and night markets. A city where there’s ultra fast Internet and a service industry built around helping you with everything and then gets out of your way so you can work. Most importantly, a city where you can fly in, get settled in, and start working right away.

When I say work, I’m not referring to working at some soulless 9-5 job; what I’m talking about is building something for yourself, something that will still be around in a couple of years, something that may outlive you. Something real and tangible. I’m talking about building real capital.

Many years ago, the city that I’ve just described could only be available in the rich and developed West. Coming to some “third world” place like Indonesia, Thailand or Latin America was completely unfathomable. Thailand always had a reputation as a place to come for cheap street food and sunbathing in its pristine beaches, and perhaps train some Muay Thai. For anything serious, like building your own business and making lots of money in the process, choosing Thailand was just stupid and silly.

That’s no longer the case. One of those cities that ticks all those boxes—and ticks them really well—is Chiang Mai, a small city in Northern Thailand, where I’ve been living for the past two months.

In fact, as I currently write this article from a very comfortable coworking space that has absolutely everything I need, I can’t think of a single place in the world where I’d rather be. Sure, Chiang Mai lacks the beach and some nice scenery, but for what I’m doing now, I really wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. And, as I’ve found out after talking to lots of people here, I’m certainly not alone.

The mystery of Chiang Mai

My first impression of this city was underwhelming. Following a long flight from Bali, Indonesia with an overnight layover in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I grabbed a taxi at the airport and started heading towards my hotel. As I peeked outside the taxi window, the city I witnessed was decidedly bland and nondescript. There weren’t any tall and glorious buildings that you see in New York. It also didn’t have the “the open air museum” feel of Barcelona or Rome.

But then something strange and inexplicable happened. As I began living here, the mystery of the city began to gradually unravel. And I began to like this city. A lot. I still don’t know why. I really have no idea what it is; what specifically about this city that made me change my mind. It could be an array of things, and as hard as I think about it, I can’t come up with a concrete reason.

Although I’m now preparing to move to Southern Thailand and enjoy much needed R&R by some secluded beach in the middle of the sea, leaving Chiang Mai wouldn’t be easy.

While Chiang Mai doesn’t have the postcard beauty of Rio de Janeiro, the historic feel of Barcelona, or the romantic feel of Paris, it has something else going for it. Specifically, it’s one of the best cities in the world for getting work done. Bar none. Not just any kind of work. The kind of work that I’ve been doing for over a decade, the kind of work where you can do from anywhere in the globe. Not freelancing or work where you’re whoring your precious time for pieces of paper (aka money). Real work. Building capital. The only work that really counts.

The new nomadic entrepreneur economy

During the time of the spice trade, there existed various “hub” cities along important trade routes. These cities had strategic importance because one needed to pass through them on your way to some final destination (where spices were sold on the market). While we’re no longer trading spices with each other, we’re always finding new and innovative ways to build capital.

There’s a new economy being assembled as we speak. It’s being created by nomadic entrepreneurs, who, thanks to a wonderful gift called Globalization, are able to mint capital and make money just about anywhere in the world. These people hold no allegiance to a particular place, nation or continent. They’re not nationalists or globalists. They’re nomadic entrepreneurs.

Instead of believing in the American dream, they’re building their own dreams. Instead of moving to San Francisco that has its share of startups, they’re moving to places that offer them 10-100x the value. The actual passport they carry in their carry-on bag is just a formality.

They’re taking their newly minted capital and moving it away from the Western “old capital” cities and onto these newly nomadic hubs, something that I’m doing and now and will continue to do in the future.

Chiang Mai is far from the only city that’s attracting this nomadic capital. Ubud in the center of the tropical island of Bali — where I’ve spent two months earlier this year — is an upcoming digital entrepreneur hub. It’s being modernized at break-neck speed with new of coworking spaces under construction. There’s also a co-living space that’s being built and should be launched soon.

Malaysia, a country with its liberal visa policies and hunger for nomadic capital is busy building its own share of nomadic hub cities. A city that everyone is talking about now is Kuching located on the island of Borneo. It’s a city with rapidly growing infrastructure and blistering fast Internet. In a couple of years it will rival Chiang Mai.

I’ve also heard great things about Dali, China, a small city in Eastern China, to the north of Thailand. Hopefully, I’ll make it up there soon and get a “boots on the ground” perspective.

Existing cities will be transforming to meet the need of this new economy. New cities will be sprouting up like mushrooms. These cities will gradually replace traditional centers of power and capital such as San Francisco, New York and London.

This is inevitably leading to a transfer of wealth from the West to the East. As more people realize the immense value being offered in the East, that’s where they’ll go. Money and capital always chase the highest returns. And right now, when money is super cheap in the West—thanks to our friendly Central Bank printing money like it’s going out of fashion— everyone is heading East, where hard currency is scarcer and, as a result, in much greater demand.

For builders of digital capital only

That’s precisely why I didn’t “get” Chiang Mai initially—I wasn’t supposed to get it. It wasn’t the right time. A nomadic hub like Chiang Mai is a puzzle which gradually opens up to you the more time you spend in the city. It’s not a typical tourist destination like Cancun that you fly in, sunbathe, get drunk,  and then go fly home. It’s also not Rio de Janeiro or Barcelona whose beauty is immediately apparent without needing to search for it.

It’s a city that can’t be understood in as little as two weeks. Forget treating it as a vacation destination. That’s like trying to have a one-night stand with a quality woman. While you can sleep with easy women very quickly, quality women know their value and wouldn’t just open their legs to anyone, especially someone who wants to pull a “hit and run.” Cancun is an easy woman; Chiang Mai is a quality woman.

In order to understand this place, you have roll your sleeves and begin to build your own capital. You understand it when you start working on something big. When you start networking with other like-minded people. That’s when things slowly begin to take shape and make sense. That’s when you realize the beauty and brilliance of the place.

Unless you’ve figured out how the whole thing works and unchain yourself from the tyranny of the 9-5 (which is nothing more than modern slavery), you can’t take advantage of this new economy its frontier cities. If you take a two-week vacation and visit a place like Chiang Mai, you’ll see a completely different city that I’m experiencing as someone who’s been actually living here.

The best way to describe a nomadic hub like Chiang Mai is that it’s AirBnB for people. Instead of seamlessly booking an apartment like you would through AirBnB, you book an entire city for your personal and business use. Everything just works. Seamlessly and effortlessly.

It takes a nomadic entrepreneur to appreciate a nomadic hub city. As they say, it takes one to know one.

The two parallel economies

Of course, you don’t have to embrace the nomadic entrepreneur economy. There’s an alternative. The alternative is to sit exactly where you are and do nothing; a life dedicated to enriching someone else. The alternative is to continue being a slave, while living in some “middle class” illusion, a mirage backed by cheap credit that’ll come crashing down as soon as there’s another financial crisis.

When you choose the “do nothing” route, you can’t enjoy the perks of living in some of these up-and-coming digital entrepreneur hotspots. You can’t pack up and move to Chiang Mai, Ubud, Dali, Kushing or many other frontier cities. You can’t engage in geo-arbitrage by earning hard currency and spending soft currency (something that elites have been doing since beginning of time). There’re lots of things you just can’t do.

Ten or fifteen years ago the above was pretty much your only option. It wasn’t possible to do anything besides the “status quo.” The third world wasn’t as developed; most of the wealth was still concentrated in the first world.

The economic winds are shifting. There’s now an alternative to the established order. There’s an alternative to the status quo. There’s an alternative to sitting and toiling just to earn enough to merely stay alive.

There’s a new economy being build by nomadic entrepreneurs, an economy that knows no bounds and no borders. It’s a parallel economy running along the more traditional one. Ignore this new economy at your peril. It’s not too farfetched to think that one day this economy might just triumph over the old order.

Which economy do you want to integrate into? Which economy fits more into your lifestyle? Which economy will reward your hard work, knowledge and skills better? Which economy would make you happier and fulfilled?

As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one option. But I’ll let you decide that for yourself.

Driving The Scooter In Bali and Learning The Meaning of Life

While I’ve driven cars for many years (with both automatic and manual transmissions), the first time I drove a scooter-or any two-wheeled motorized vehicle—was many years ago when I was living in San Francisco. A friend who drove one around the city offered to teach me how to drive it. I got on and few seconds later I almost crashed it into my own car. All I remember was the beige scooter lying on the ground on its left side. It was purely a miracle that I was still standing and my own car’s left door was still intact.

Fast forward thirteen years, and I’ve found myself on the tropical paradise called Bali, Indonesia. I’m staying in a town of approximately 300,000 people. The town (Ubud) has an uncanny resemblance to San Francisco; it’s filled with nice tree-lined streets, organic cafes and lots of hippies and as well as some hipsters. And I’m exploring this beautiful town and island not by walking or driving, but by riding my very own Honda scooter.

Bali, Indonesia, a tropical island in the middle of Indian Ocean, lacks any kind of public transportation of any kind. While there are taxis (in many towns, your only choice is to negotiate a rate and hire a private car), they’re impractical for daily exploration and only make sense when you’re moving from one area to another-especially if you’re carrying luggage. Another option is to use your two feet for getting around, but then you’d be confined to a small radius around your hostel or hotel (it also gets very hot during the day).

Enter the scooter: for as little as $1/day, you can rent your own two-wheeled motorized transport and get around anywhere you need to. It’s easy to drive it. Easy to park it. Filling it up with gas costs almost nothing. Here on Bali, it seems every single person—and their mother and grandmother drives their own scooter. I’ve seen entire families consisting of mother, father and a couple of kids riding on one scooter. Everyone rides one. Renting one is really a no brainer.

Driving a scooter comes with its own challenges. First of all, you need to actually know how to ride one. If you’ve never ridden a motorbike  before, there will be a bit of a learning curve. You’ll have to learn how to properly balance it. You’ll also feel overwhelmed in heavy traffic when you’re surrounded by a sea of scooters buzzing and whizzing by you from all sides. It’s also difficult to navigate Bali’s many super narrow streets where a scooter can barely fit itself.

You know all those nice traffic rules—and people that actually follow them—in your comfortable Western country? Well, forget all that: the locals drive with absolutely no regard for any rules of the road.

After arriving to Bali, I hesitated renting one. I’ve never driven a two-wheeled vehicle, and I didn’t want to learn how to do it in chaotic environment; it would’ve been better learn in a controlled environment, not in the crazy Bali traffic that’s no place for a rookie.

However, it quickly dawned on me that I really had no choice. I rented a house about 10km outside the town (most affordable accommodation exists outside the main city), so some kind of transport became all but a necessity. I needed to rent a scooter.

I rented one. After crashing one almost thirteen years ago on a quiet in street in San Francisco on my first attempt, driving a scooter this time around has been easier. The most challenging part has been balancing it at low speeds, although over the past several weeks, I’ve made lots of progress that it feels much more comfortable now.

If you had asked me even two months ago if I would ever ride a scooter or a motorcycle, my answer would’ve been a definite no. I was living in a beautiful European capital (Kiev, Ukraine), and had absolutely no reason to drive a scooter or a motorcycle. There was easy public transportation and very cheap taxis, should I need one. Driving a two-wheeled vehicle wasn’t a necessity; it wasn’t even something I wanted to do. It was probably more than a hassle than anything.

But here in Bali it suddenly became a necessity. Any other kind of transportation was just impractical. Therefore, I had no choice but to rent one and learn how to drive it.

And what can I say after putting over 1000 km on it in the past several weeks? It has been one of the most rewarding experiences that I can remember. I absolutely love riding it. I enjoy its nimble handling and the ease of parking. I constantly make excuses to ride it around the town (to get fresh juice from a nearby local shop or buy some fresh fruits).

I’ve also discovered some amazing beaches on the island thanks to it: a beautiful white sand beach secluded in the eastern part of the island and nice black sand (volcanic) beaches on the northern side. Not too mention visiting and eating at a bunch of night markets located around 30 minutes from the city has been a fantastic experience.

It’s amazing that something that was so terrifying not long ago is now not only second nature, but it’s actually a super fun activity – an activity that I enjoy thoroughly and had no idea how I lived without it for so long. This is usually how things work.

I’ve been enjoying riding one so much, that I now have dreams of riding one around other Southeast Asian countries like Philippines or Thailand. Heck, I want to drive in every country that I visit from now on. (I’ve also been even researching whether I can drive it in Latin America or Europe. I believe they’re pretty popular in Italy and Spain).

The question of cultivating skill

When I lived in Kiev, I met people who’ve never driven cars in their lives. At first that puzzled me; I couldn’t believe there are actually people on this planet who’ve never driven a car and don’t have a driving license—and I’m saying this as a New Yorker who owned several cars in the city.

But yeah, apparently such people do exist. Mainly because for them driving a car was never a necessary. Either their family didn’t have a car when they were growing up, or they simply got around using the city’s extensive public transportation. They didn’t learn to drive because there wasn’t any need to drive a vehicle.

At the core, self improvement is all about learning new skills. That skill can be picking up women, mastering a new language or learning how to drive a motorbike. The objective is to go beyond what you know-go beyond your comfort zone-and tax yourself by learning how to do something new.

Learning a new skill and going beyond your comfort zone is never easy. It’s not easy to learn how to pick up and seduce women because the byproduct is always lots and lots of rejection. It’s not easy to learn a new language because you’ll make a fool of yourself repeatedly before you’ll be able correctly pronounce words and make coherent sentences.

And it’s certainly not easy to ride a motorbike because it can be hazardous to your life; not only will you’ll need to learn how to balance the vehicle, understand how to switch gears and avoid crashing it into various objects (and quickly react so others don’t crash into you).

Nevertheless, each one of these skills enhances your life by allowing you to experience something brand new. All of them make your life more interesting and more rewarding.

My mother once told me a story that back in Soviet Union she was required to pass a swimming test in order to graduate from school. There was one problem: she didn’t know how to swim. She has never swam before. So, on the day of the test, the instructor called her name and requested that she swim across the length of the swimming pool. She jumped in the water and, in order to avoid drowning, began to tread water and stay afloat. Few moments later she was “swimming,” (I’m using the word in its most liberal sense). She eventually “swam” the full length of the swimming pool and passed the test. It was the first time she “swam” in her life.

The subtle art of rationalizing away and not confronting your deepest fears

When I was researching about riding scooters in this part of the world, I stumbled on a few articles where some backpacker was warning foreigners against renting and driving scooters in some Southeast Asian country (I believe it was Thailand). His justification was driving one is dangerous and unpredictable: there’s a much higher risk of a serious injury because, unlike when driving a car, you’re not protected by an outer shell. There’s the fact that you’re not familiar with how locals are driving, etc.

In a sense, he’s right: driving a motorbike is certainly more dangerous than driving a car, but where he’s wrong is in the overall thinking and intent.

But here’s the thing: the problem that’s preventing you from moving forward is not a specific concrete reason like your inability to ride a motorbike or the foreign country’s laws and regulations. These are all nothing but rationalizations for a root cause: your overriding fear of taking a risk and doing something new. You’re afraid to do it and you rationalize your fears using some existing excuses.

What people like him are doing are rationalizing not confronting their (usually massive) fears. Here in Bali, everyone rides a scooter, so every single driver-whether he’s driving a scooter, a car or a large truck, is completely used to scooters buzzing all around him at all times. Thus, riding a scooter is actually safer here than in a city where no one rides these mini motorcycles such as Kiev or Moscow. (It’s for the same reasons that driving a bicycle is almost suicidal in New York City and completely safe in Copenhagen, Denmark where 30% of the population commutes to work in bicycles.)

People who rationalize not confronting their fears tend to live very closed and mundane lives. They’re afraid of letting go and surrendering and just experiencing things. They’re afraid of experiencing life. They’re not living — but merely existing.

They’re also handicapping themselves. They’re given a choice to do something new, learn a new skill and become a stronger man, but instead of taking a plunge and just “going with the flow,” they rationalize away confronting the fears and choose not to do it.

(One could ask a different question: if you’re so scared of living your life, why travel anyway? Traveling is far from bulletproof. Lots of bad things can happen and often do. You can be robbed, assaulted, mugged, killed, raped, etc. Or you can have the most amazing experience of your life.)

Invariably most of you who’re reading this will fall into two camps: those who will jump at the opportunity to grow by learning a new skill and those who’ll make every single excuse in the book to rationalize not confronting their deathly fear of doing anything that involves any risk.

This is the wrong approach. Rationalizing anything is always a bad idea because it shows that it’s not something that you wanted to do-but needed to somehow explain this poor decision.

It’s easy to let fear dominate your decision making in almost any kind of situation. Pick any decision that requires you take a risk and move forward, or not do anything and stay where you are, and it’s always easy to talk yourself out of pretty much anything that makes you feel uncomfortable in any way. For instance, guys who don’t approach the girl they’re attracted to know exactly what I’m talking about.

But the trick with fear is that you can actually train yourself to feel it and still do something anyway. Over time, as a result of the positive feedback of doing something new and risky and not experiencing catastrophic failure—such as an embarrassing rejection or crazy crash—you’ll automatically build a healthy relationship with fear. The fear will still be there, but what will happen is that you’ll develop organic confidence that will counterbalance the fear, making it all but irrelevant. And this is exactly what you want.

Learning while doing it

While, over time, things do become second nature, the hardest part is to take the risk and do something whenever you’re presented with an opportunity. When given the option to grow: you must choose to go forward (“go with the flow”) instead of making a sudden and erratic u-turn.

Because the best way to learn a new skill is precisely while doing it, not while planning to do it. You learn to swim while helplessly struggling to stay afloat in the deep end of the pool, not standing in the shallow end where your feet can easily touch the water. You learn to ride a motorbike in heavy Indonesian traffic while surrounded by tons of other motorbikes instead of practicing in some empty park lot.

You learn a new language when you can’t communicate properly in English with the locals (here in Bali, English sort of works, but if I was exploring other areas of this huge country, I would learn Bahasa Indonesia. That’s why I became fluent in both Spanish and Portuguese: I was living in countries where speaking English would only get one so far, and I wanted to go much further and actually connect with the people). I had no choice but to learn their language.

You learn to pickup and seduce women when you reach a breaking point: you want to be with quality women, but you don’t know how. Maybe you’re in a sucky relationship where you don’t love your current girlfriend. Or maybe you want to learn to become more social and meet women anytime and anywhere instead of remaining a shy and fearful hermit who plays video games and watches online porn instead of interacting with actual, live women. Ultimately, you learn that being able to approach and meet women directly translates into becoming a much better and capable man in all areas of life.

You learn how to make money when you realize you want to live in Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona, Kiev or Bali because you like it better there than your crappy life back in New York, Los Angeles or Brussels and need a way to support yourself. Or because you met a nice girl there and want to live with her, but getting a job there or having the girl move to your home country isn’t an option.

You learn to ride a motorbike when you realize there’s just no other practical means of transportation around a beautiful tropical island, and you want to explore it and not be chained within a small radius around your hotel.

The clearest sign that you must do something is when there’s an element of risk; when there’s an element of imminent failure. Moreover, if you’re scared of doing something, it’s a pretty clear sign that you must do it. It’s a sign that you must overcome your fear. 

Can you imagine not driving a scooter in a place like Bali because some fear is holding you hostage? It’s absolutely ludicrous. But that’s exactly what you’re doing when you refuse to take the leap. For, fear knows no bounds; it’s wholly irrational. That’s why you must tame it.

That’s how you improve. You do it when you have no other choice. You do it when the alternative to not learning a new skill is so painful, inconvenient, or it’s a plain requirement (e.g., you must pass a test in order to graduate the class). You don’t learn when it seems like a “cool” thing to do. You learn when you must. And you become an infinitely better and more capable man for it.

The Complete Guide To Becoming A Miserable Loser

Misery is everywhere. Everywhere you look. That’s a fact. I see lots of it around here in Eastern Europe where I’m living now. Eastern Europe is a dreary, unhappy, miserable place. I also saw it in New York when I was there last year. Lots of unhappy people. New York is an unhappy place, especially in the winter. The subway cars get overcrowded. Everyone is grumpy. Then the snow falls and there are all kinds of delays. Millions of grumpy people can’t make it to work on time. Then the snow melts and you have this ugly black slush everywhere. Nasty. There’s no other word to describe it. It’s really nasty.

But most of all, I see this misery right here on the Internet. Like right on my own blog. I write a random post, hit publish and moments later an angry swarm of criticism from people I don’t even know fills up the comments area. People are bickering and complaining and arguing either with me or amongst themselves. Hate is everywhere. People are unhappy. Even the most trivial and inconsequential thing can set someone off these days. I can look at the blue sky, write that the sky is indeed blue and someone will criticize me and say that it’s really grey or black.

A fashionable excuse these days is Westernization. No, it’s a real threat—I get it. Says a good friend of mine who’s living in Lithuania. He hates Lithuania. Thinks the women have become “Westernized.” He says they’re like Germans or Danes. Thinks there are too many “feminists” there.

Or the guy who went to Brazil and thinks Brazilian women are too “Westernized” compared to even—get this—two years ago. Says he met friendlier Brazilian women on the streets of New York than in the whole month in Rio de Janeiro. Yep, that’s believable. Why wouldn’t it be? There’s also a bridge in Arizona I’d love to sell you for a low introductory price of…

Or the guy who went to Russia and thinks the women are “too calculated” because he couldn’t get easy sex and actually needed to treat a woman like a woman for the first time in his life by paying for dinner and/or drinks, and, then—get this—actually seducing her. Then he comes back here and starts dumping all kinds of Russian and Ukrainian divorce statistics (i.e., that “prove” that Eastern European are not marriage material because many couples end up divorcing, an argument that violates all common sense and logic in the world, including the obvious “Post hoc ergo” fallacy). Why does he do it? Because these “statistics” rationalize his utter failure to seduce the most feminine women in the world.

Or the guy who went to… well, you get it. It doesn’t matter where he went or what he did. He’s angry. He’s complaining and bitching like a little kid. Why is the guy who went to Brazil so angry? I don’t know. Maybe because he didn’t get a blowjob as soon as he landed in the country? After all, that’s the first thing that should happen to every gringo who goes to Brazil, right? He feels he’s “entitled” to a… actually, I have no fucking clue what he thinks he’s entitled to. Maybe he just wants to bitch and complain. Because the cold truth is that he is not entitled to a single goddamn thing.

Provide Order And Build Empires

Sometimes I think I’m the world’s worst son. At least according to my mom. You see, she worries a lot. All the time actually. About everything. She worries when I travel to distant and “dangerous” lands. I like to joke that my mom worries for a living, kind of like men who love to bitch and complain for a living.

But I’m talking about my mom here. A woman. A lovely and feminine Eastern European woman. A woman who worries about her only son. As much as I wished she didn’t worry as much, I understand her point of view. And I love her very much for it.

But you’re not a mother. And, if you’re reading this, you’re probably not even a woman. You’re a man. A man with balls. With testosterone running through your veins. With muscles. And your job is to make others secure. To provide stability. To provide order. To make money. To build empires. To make things happen. To make moves. To be a leader. To take the world by its horns. To fuck—yes to fuck like the world is ending tomorrow and not make some fucking love that you saw in some fake Hollywood movie—that cute barista you’ve been meaning to approach for two months.

You were not put on this earth to sit at home and bitch and complain all day. You were not put on this earth to look for excuses and avoid action. You were not put on this earth to rationalize your incompetence and failure. You’re a man, right? So, act like one. Or have I been wrong all along?

Enter The Rich World

The world is beautiful. The world is rich. The rich world. That’s my new mindset. Every fucking day I get up, I’m amazed at all the opportunities around me. I’m healthy. I’m breathing. I have two legs. I have two arms. I have a head on my shoulders. I’m living in an abundance mentality. 

We have all the information about all the world’s knowledge at our fingertips. You can do absolutely anything. You have a laptop with an Internet connection. You can start a business selling whatever the fuck you want. You can build a website and take credit card payments to be deposited directly into your bank account—in 5 minutes. (Can you even imagine doing that 10 or 15 years ago? I was running my first business when I was 16 and back then you needed something called a merchant account, which wasn’t easy to obtain—there was no Stripe back then.)

You can write books, draw illustrations or make movies. Or do a billion other things if you’re creative. People are hungry for new ways to consume information. People are hungry for knowledge. People are hungry for entertainment. People are hungry for solutions to their pressing problems. And they’re eager to give you money if you can do any of the above.

I’m also eager to give you money. I’ll help too. You can count on that. And I will do everything so that you’ll succeed. I will personally buy what you’re selling. I will also send you eager customers to buy what you’re selling. But you fucking have to build it first. You have to channel your misery into something constructive and productive. Just stop complaining and do something. Something. Anything. Be a fucking a man.

The fact that I view the world as rich and abundant means it’s difficult for me to relate to those who do not. I can’t help it. That’s just how it is. I’m talking about people who focus on some small inconsequential trivialities. People who always look at the negative side of any situation. People who always find subtle excuses why something won’t work out. Like some guy who was quick to tell me that “9/10 of businesses fail” because my first business didn’t crack $1,000 per month, and I decided to do something else. Fuck you. That’s not failure. Even if you made “only” $500/mo or $100/mo. That’s not failure. That’s knowledge and experience. Next time you’ll make more and more and more.

The list of men who’ve given up on life is endless. The 30-year-old dude who lives in his mom’s basement. The 35-year-old dude who “longs for the past” because his “best days” are “obviously” behind him. The 45-year-old dude who thinks he’s “too old” to start a new life in a foreign country. It ain’t right. Actually, it’s more than that: it’s sickening and disgusting. Because if it’s you who I’m describing—and you know this—then you’re not a man. You’re not someone who’s making moves. That’s not you. You’re just looking for excuses to rationalize your sorry existence. And what else? You’re a fucking coward. And you know what else? Fuck you. I don’t need you in my life. Get off my damn lawn.

Here in Eastern Europe, guys like you wouldn’t even survive. I don’t mean emotionally or psychologically: I mean physically. If you don’t hustle, you don’t eat. Guys like you also wouldn’t reproduce; amazingly feminine women wouldn’t want anything to do with you (femininity isn’t free, remember?). Attractive and feminine women want masculine men who provide order and stability. They want MEN. Actually, it’s a curious coincidence that complaining and bitching has a lot in common with feminism—a luxury that 90% of the planet (outside America and a select few rich countries) just cannot afford. That should you give some perspective.

The rich world. That’s where it’s at. Once you begin viewing the world as replete with possibilities, you can’t go back. You just can’t. You can’t complain. You can’t bitch. It will change absolutely everything and in all spheres of life.

Few months ago I began dating a new girl. She was beautiful. She had a nice personality. Things were going really well. But then she started telling me how I should live my life. She became irrationally demanding. She was also very jealous. Jealous of things that she didn’t really need to be jealous of. Lots of things were responsible for her behavior, but the bottom line was that she wasn’t seeing the world as replete with possibilities. She wasn’t on the same page as me. She projected her misery and insecurities onto me. I didn’t want to deal with that. When she refused to change, I wished her all the best and promptly found a new woman. I’m living in a rich world.

Why do people get hung up on such stupid trivialities? Why do people get jealous when they should be worried about something that’s much more important? Why are they so easily offended at the most inconsequential things? I have no fucking clue. Actually I do: it’s because they have nothing more important to concern themselves with, so they always “find” drama where there isn’t any.

It’s a rich world. As rich as you want it to be. As poor as you want it to be. You can make as much money as you want. Work more. Work less. Make $100/mo. Make $10,000/mo. It’s up to you and no one else. Last month, I launched a new project. While it’s a bit early to tell, so far, it has exceeded all my expectations. Why? Because I worked like a dog—lots of 16 hour days—on it for the past several months. I worked harder than I’ve worked for a very long time. I’m hungrier than I ever was before. I’m more ambitious than I ever was before. I want greatness. I’m living in a rich world. I don’t care about silly and inconsequential shit.

I grew up in the Soviet Union, a totalitarian country where people couldn’t exercise any freedoms like starting their own business. It wasn’t allowed by law. Everything was owned by the government. In the Russian language, we don’t even have a word for “privacy.” Everyone was the same. We all lived in the same ugly 5-story buildings that are now decaying all over the Eastern Europe. The term “individual” was all but a foreign concept. I know how bad things can be.

Make Your Own Luck

That’s no longer the case. Today, the limit is really your mindset and imagination. You can become a better man. You can go out of your house and meet a new woman without silly gimmicks, stupid tricks or some other embarrassing tactics—right now. You can build your own business. You can use that money to structure your life the way you want like moving to a country where you’re respected and liked. It takes, what, one or two days to form a company or a limited partnership? How much money do you need for an airline ticket? An apartment or room? What’s your other excuse?

When I lived in California and had a shitty cubicle job in a programmer sweatshop known as Silicon Valley—my friends and I used to call Silicon Valley’s location the armpit of America—I was unhappy. I was miserable. I complained. I hated every single day. Everyone around me knew this. It affected everything. It affected my health. It affected my ability to build relationships. It affected my moods. I wasn’t living the life I deserved. I still don’t know whose life I was living because it certainly wasn’t mine.

But I changed. I said enough is enough. ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH. I assumed responsibility for my own actions. No one else did it for me. No one was waiting for me when I flew to Brazil on a one-way ticket. No one was waiting for me when I flew to Ukraine on a one-way ticket. And no one will be waiting for me when I go somewhere new.

What I eventually learned is that being miserable is an option. Misery is a choice you make. Nothing more, nothing less. Everyone can be miserable. I can be miserable—even starting right now. And, believe me, it’s very tempting at times. Last few months were far from easy. But I’m stronger than that. I resist the urge. We each make our own luck.

Because It’s Always Something Else

But, of course, with you it’s different. As opposed to the other 7,399,999,999 people on this planet, you’re a special snowflake. It’s never you. Never. It’s always something else or someone else that’s responsible for your unhappiness, bad luck and misery. You refuse to believe that you’re the captain of your own destiny. You refuse to take responsibility for your own self. You don’t want to do that. Why? Because it’s fucking hard. Because it requires you to look at yourself straight in the eye and start making important decisions—decisions that you’ve been putting off doing for many years. It requires you to actually start (or finish) that project you’ve been putting off many months or even years.

After all, it’s much easier to project your inability and incompetence on some abstract ideology (usually ending in “ism”) that no one even knows what the fuck they even mean anyway (I bet you don’t even know what Communism really means, but I do). It’s much easier to say that an entire non-Western country, replete with gorgeous and feminine women has been “Westernized”—in two years no less, a truly incredible feat—than to get on the plane, travel to that country and fuck the country’s women. It’s much easier to say that a girl’s sexual history makes her “undatable” and, thus, let’s you rationalize her as a threat to your manhood (a subtle but potent form of pedestalization) instead of viewing such women for who they really are: healthy animalistic human beings who love sex as much as you do, and who can infuse your life with incredible passion and happiness (who gives a flying fuck about her past if she’s into you and genuinely cares about you?)

It’s much easier to be so indirect and convoluted (call it indirect, aloof or whatever else) with your desires that no woman will ever figure out what you really want than it is to be direct and upfront by putting yourself on the line—risking rejection, of course—but also making it clear that you’re here to fuck her brains out and not “chat” or “be friends” or other nonsense that neither she or you really want. It’s much easier to surround yourself with men who complain and bitch while accomplishing absolutely nothing their entire lives than to surround yourself with winners who fuck like rockstars and build business empires that go on to make millions of dollars (God forbid some of their winning mentality and mastery will rub off on you and make you a better man).

There’s enough misery and hate in the world. More than enough. It’s easy to find it if you know where to look. It’s easy to create it from virtually nothing. Personally, I’m not in the business of generating more misery and hate. I’m in the business of inspiration and self-improvement. So, if what you’re looking for are more excuses and rationalizations for your failure as a man instead of actionable advice on reaching your pinnacle and really changing your life, then you definitely came to the wrong place.

Your Problem Is That You Care Too Much About Things That Don’t Matter

I was recently having a conversation with a friend. She was recounting a bad experience in a store. She was standing in a checkout line when a woman in another line next to her suddenly gave her a dirty look, and offered the woman who was standing behind my friend a chance to cut in front of her. The woman went from standing behind my friend straight to the front of the other line.

My friend was extremely upset. It bothered her that someone would seemingly “screw her” over like this.

I was confused because I couldn’t understand the issue.

“The other woman didn’t cut in front of you, right?” I asked her.

She nodded.

“Then, what’s the problem? It’s not like you were somehow affected by it.”

“I know. But I still didn’t like how the other woman looked at me. She gave me a dirty look. It was as though I did something wrong and pissed her off somehow. Maybe they didn’t like the clothes I was wearing or something else about me. The whole experience made me feel like shit.”

My friend was so shook up about it that she repeated this conversation to no less than three other friends. Some friends sympathized with her, others simply nodded in agreement without saying anything.

I consider myself an empathetic person. I can usually relate with people that have been affected in someway, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to write stuff about self-improvement for so long. I happen to give a shit about things that I probably shouldn’t be giving a shit about.

But I didn’t care this time. Not about my friend, but about my reaction; there wouldn’t be any reaction. Had it been me standing there, I wouldn’t find a single cell in my entire body to care.

Later, I came back home and my mom was a watching a Russian talk show. It was about some some family from some small town in the middle of nowhere in Russia. An older guy was being interviewed by the host when, suddenly, a woman ran onto the stage and began shouting at him in expletive-filled Russian.

I looked at my mom.

“Why are you watching this?” I asked her.

She shrugged her shoulders.

“I don’t know about you, but I really don’t need some random woman shouting at the screen. I have enough problems in my life as is. Why are we subjecting ourselves to this?” I said.

My mom smiled, grabbed the remote and turned to another channel. At least this channel had more productive programming: a cooking show where they were explaining how to make a delicious meatloaf.

When I think about the above issues, I just shake my head. Why should it bother me than one person let another person cut in front of her so that she gets to cashier faster than me?

Why should I care about about some family from rural Russia that’s having a feud?

Neither of these things even remotely affects me. And there’s a pretty good chance that neither of these things even remotely affects you. Unless you’re personally related to one of the family members from a small town in Nowhere, Russia, trying to understand who caused the feud and the way it ultimately gets resolved wouldn’t really change anything in your life.

Of course, as an empathetic man, I could theoretically care. I can find some way to relate. I can dig into my past and recall a similar experience. There’s probably a ton of them out there.

But I don’t. Why not? I just don’t have the bandwidth because I have more important things on my mind. I need to finish writing a new book. I need to review a couple of sales copies for clients. And I also need to finish debugging a mobile application that should’ve been launched yesterday.

I have a billion of things on my mind and the world that isn’t directly related to either of these things doesn’t really concern me. The bulk of my attention is devoted to surviving and thriving; I don’t have time for luxuries.

I spend a lot of time pondering why such trivial things affect people in such profound ways. And then I realize that’s because most of these people have nothing going on in their lives that’s more important than these trivial things. In order for you to not care about things that aren’t even remotely connected to you, you need to care about something that’s intimately tied to you. The level of care is never absolute; it’s always relative.

After all, a person must care about something. Most people aren’t completely indifferent. That’s human nature. They must busy themselves with something. They must experience some conflict in their lives, either real or virtual. When you don’t have anything going on, when you don’t have your own drama to deal with and your own fires to put out, that’s when you get sucked into someone else’s drama and begin to care. That’s when you watch a silly sitcom like Two And A Half Men or catch up on the latest celebrity gossip about what Kim Kardashian’s ass has been doing lately.

Finding Your Fulfillment

The perennial question then becomes what’s worth caring about and what isn’t. And in order to reach an answer, it’s helpful to observe that your level of care is inversely proportional to how much stuff you have going on your life. The more stuff you have going on that’s intimately tied to you in some shape or form—your family, your friends, your business, your finances, your health—the less likely you’ll get sucked into other situations.

In one of my favorite books, True Believer, the author, Eric Hoffer, says,

A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people’s business.

He’s absolutely right. That’s exactly how it works.

If your six figure figure is burning down, I absolutely guarantee you’re not going to stay up late at night, desperately asking on reddit why a girl you met last week is not returning your calls. I absolutely guarantee that you won’t care about a guy who gave you a dirty look on the bus. And I absolutely guarantee you that you wouldn’t care about how Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are adopting their 5th kid from some war-torn African country.

But I’m talking about more than just “making money”; I’m talking about doing something that let’s you express yourself. Something that fulfills you on such a profound level that you’re never left worrying whether you’re missing out by not doing something else.

That can take form of anything. Building a multi-million dollar publishing empire. Writing a book. Visiting every country in the world. Feeding starving kids in Africa. It must be something that’s greater than yourself—something that’s beyond merely validating yourself to a single person. Something spontaneous yet also involving risk. Something that makes you feel that you’re truly alive.

Because when you’re not following your passion and doing what actually matters, that’s when they get you. That’s when you start caring about things you shouldn’t be caring about in the first place.

That’s when a random woman in a department store checkout line succeeds at pissing you off with a dirty look. That’s when you suddenly get drawn into some family’s feud in Nowhere, Russia. And that’s why you’re up at two in the morning desperately trying to get “advice” as to what to do when a girl with whom you had a drink two weeks ago still hasn’t responded to your 5th text message.

What Makes A Woman Feminine?

If there’s one adjective that’s discussed pretty much ad-nauseam when it comes to women, it’s femininity. Judging by how often it’s discussed, it’s easily the most sought-after quality after beauty. To most men, feminity is like the proverbial oasis in a dry desert. Feminity is what the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León would’ve been looking for if he hadn’t been looking for the fountain of youth.

But whereas beauty is easily understood and needs no further explanation (you’re either attracted to the woman or not), feminity is more opaque and complicated.

As an Eastern European guy, I always considered American (or foreign-born Americanized) women to be somehow “different,” and, as a result, mostly dated Eastern European and Latin American women (my Eastern European and Latin American friends in New York did the same thing).

While I couldn’t verbalize it at that time, one of the reasons I went for non-Americanized women over Americanized women was because the former were more feminine than the latter.

So, what exactly is femininity? A feminine woman implicitly understands the existence of polarity when it comes to her own self-actualization and when dealing with other people (both men and women). She intrinsically knows that men and women are different and that gender is a biological—not a societal—construct.

Sometimes guys are talking about feminity, but what they are actually referring to is “girlyness.” Thus, if a woman isn’t especially girly, then they don’t consider her to be feminine. Conversely, if a woman is tough and “ball-busting,” she’s considered masculine.

But that’s a wrong way of looking at it. There are plenty of women who are tough and ball-busting, but are still extremely feminine.

For instance, Eastern European women are, for the most part, very feminine, but not all of them are girly girls who uncontrollably giggle at everything you say. I’ve met plenty of women who are tough and goal-oriented, but they still behave according to the implicit rules of gender relations, making them very feminine.


Feminity is also about being secure and not ashamed of being the “weaker” sex. It’s being secure and comfortable with the desire to submit to a stronger man. It’s a form of vulnerability. If a woman isn’t comfortable with all that; if she believes that men and women are equal in all ways—including biologically and psychologically—if she believes that there’s no such thing as gender and gender roles, then there’s no more feminity and masculinity.

Long ago, when I lived in San Francisco Bay Area, I went out with an American girl who worked in the tech industry. It was our first date. She was smart, interesting and very ambitious. We had a lot of fun. I definitely liked her.

But the most memorable part wasn’t the actual date, but what happened right after. As we were leaving the restaurant, I opened the restaurant’s door to let her out. It’s something that I do out of courtesy for both women and men.

I immediately felt something was off. While she didn’t say anything, I could tell she felt uncomfortable not having to open the door herself. It was as though I intruded on her personal space and invaded her comfort zone.

Now, I’m not one of those super chivalrous guys who always opens doors for women. I don’t run around and go out of my way to do it. I do it every now and then. But I feel there’s something wrong when you open the door for a woman and she immediately becomes uncomfortable as though you’ve just deprived all her hard-won  freedoms.

A feminine woman has no problems letting the man take the lead, whether it’s opening the door or letting him seduce her—in fact, she expects nothing less. I don’t know any Latin American or Eastern European women who would suddenly freeze and become uncomfortable when a man is trying to be chivalrous.


Feminine women naturally communicate differently with men than women who are raised in a culture that lacks clearly defined gender roles. American dating is about having endless, politically-correct conversations that span all kinds of (widely regurgitated) topics. These conversations more resemble televised debates than intimate flirting. The reason that happens is because there’s no gender polarity.

The more feminine the woman, the stronger her desire for polarity, and, consequently, the more she desires a masculine guy. The stronger the polarity, the less you need to employ “fillers” of useless conversation to pass the time and fish for attraction. Of course, there’s a catch: it requires the man to be authentic with his desires and masculinity and not be fake by trying to be someone that he’s clearly not.

Moreover, a feminine woman is actually comfortable being a feminine woman. She views feminity as a valuable asset that’s duly part of who she’s, an asset that’s meant to be celebrated and leveraged instead of a liability that should be downplayed and even compensated for. She’s glad that she was born a woman and not a man.

I feel that feminity is one of the greatest gifts that a woman can bestow to the world. When I began traveling, I started to experience amazing connections and “chemistry” with women, connections that I’ve almost never experienced during my life in America. It’s as though my dating life went from being black and white to an unlimited palette of bright and exciting colors.

But the world is rapidly changing. Cultures are becoming increasingly genderless. In places where traditional relationships are the norm, women are being shamed for their feminine behavior instead of appreciated and celebrated for it. And I’m afraid that without feminity, amazing things like “chemistry” between two human beings will soon be relegated to the dustbin of history.

The Limits Of Masculinity

I always thought it was rather peculiar, if not outright strange, that anyone can sit down at their keyboard, cobble up together some words, sentences and paragraphs and then call it “Guide To Being A Man” or something like that.

But that’s exactly what I did few years ago when I sat down in my humble apartment and wrote seven articles which I called “The Seven Commandments of Manhood.” To say that I was a fully-fledgfed king of men back then would probably be a stretch; I was some scrawny (okay, maybe not that scrawny) dude in his early 30s, who definitely hadn’t lived long enough and accumulated enough experience to know what being a man is all about. Nevertheless, people read the articles, agreed with most of the points and even commended me on putting such a helpful list together.

Since then I’ve written many articles about masculinity, but I’m certainly far from the only one; there are articles all over the Internet that discuss the meaning of masculinity and manhood at great length. Plenty of books have also been written on this subject. In fact, it’s one of the hotly debated topics today.

As proof of how prevalent the discussion about masculinity dominates our contemporary society, just ask any guy (and, even, any woman) to give their thoughts on the subject, and he or she will surely have an opinion about it. They will duly define masculinity by telling you the characteristics that they would consider to be “masculine” and characteristics that they wouldn’t. Ask one hundred people to define masculinity, and you’ll get one hundred different definitions.

The reason that almost anyone alive can have an opinion on such a seemingly “biologically hardcoded” topic is because masculinity is anything but hardcore—it’s a flexible concept. Masculinity, like beauty, is really in the eye of the beholder; masculinity is subjective.

Not too long ago, a frequent reader forwarded me an article written about masculinity by a blogger who writes about dating and gender relations. I wasn’t familiar with his work up until that point, but I was curious how others defined masculinity so I went over and read it.

His point was that masculinity is completely cultural. Masculinity is like water, and, thus, the same way that water assumes the shape of its container, masculinity similarly assumes the shape of the underlying culture.

That means that in Latin cultures, where the man is expected to be super macho, anyone who’s not super macho isn’t really considered to be a man. In cultures where men are not as dominant (i.e., Scandinavia), women would freak out by a very dominant man, and so a very strong man would find himself completely out of place. He ends the article by proclaiming that, “Our canvas is ourselves and we’re all artists. The developmental blueprint is that there is no blueprint.”

I think it’s a very informative article, and, while I understand what he was trying to say, I don’t agree with the notion that masculinity should trail behind and assume the shape of the underlying culture. I don’t think masculinity should be that flexible. In fact, I think that masculinity is exactly the opposite: masculinity is what defines the underlying culture instead of being defined by it. Masculinity is more rigid with strongly defined bounds.

Personally, I consider masculinity to be very important and sacred, which is why I’ve written so much about it. Masculinity is the seed that gives rise to everything else. It’s what gives definition to cultures; it’s what actually defines a culture. It’s also what dictates the strength or weakness of a culture. It’s no wonder that one of the main topics on this blog is not travel but masculinity. In short, masculinity is everything.

If the culture has strong masculinity, then it has a correspondingly strong femininity. That means traditional dating, healthy family values, strong male role models, and strong pillars that the entire society rests and flourishes on.

On the other hand, if the culture doesn’t have strong masculinity, then you can forget all of the above. Of course, you still have a culture—some kind of culture—but it’s a culture that’s increasingly filled with void and emptiness.

The reason you don’t know what the heck to do with your life is because you weren’t told what to do by someone who was stronger and more experienced than you—a good role model—when you were growing up. A culture without masculinity is a culture without polarity, a culture without meaning.

I’m not saying that all men should be super macho, like in some Latin or Eastern European cultures. Dominance and aggressiveness doesn’t necessarily need to define the man. For instance, Danish guys are pretty easy going compared to Serbians or Croatians. But that doesn’t make them any less manly. Scandinavians grew up in a culture where things are done very differently than Croatians, Serbians and Bosnians. The same comparison could be between Finnish and Russian men.

Furthermore, we’ve came a long way from the Medieval Ages and the era of Vikings and Kings, an era where there wasn’t much of the rule of law and pretty much anything went. Society has evolved, and so did our gender relations. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. We live in 2015, so it’s foolish to expect to have the gender relations that was normal in the year 1350 or 1650.

Nevertheless, to underscore why masculinity is so crucial, I like to point out that I wouldn’t even be thinking these thoughts and typing these words, and even having this blog you’re reading now had I been raised in a country such as Brazil, Colombia, Ukraine or Russia—or pretty much any place outside the West—where gender relations are more or less “traditional.” I would’ve had a normal life and not wondering if something is masculine or not.

The end of masculinity

Few months ago, a guy bashed me on twitter. Since my blog is far from politically correct (which is probably why you read it in the first place), I’m no stranger to criticism. It’s very common to have feminists and their sympathizers come and write nasty comments on my posts. I don’t mind. I’m completely used to it by now. But where I was taken aback was that this time I wasn’t criticized by a feminist, or even another woman. It was another guy.

He bashed me because of some of the things that I’ve written about Brazilian women. Brazil is one of my favorite countries and the world, and I have the highest praise and admiration for Brazilian women. I’ve routinely written that I find them extremely beautiful, sexy and approachable. They’re the epitome of true femininity.

Apparently this guy disagreed. He didn’t like my attitude. He felt that I was “objectifying” women by describing them using adjectives that referred to their outward appearance.

Fine. That happens, I thought to myself.

But just when I thought I’d seen it all, I was thrown a curveball: he did something that I completely didn’t expect: he immediately complained to the Brazilian Federal Police:

Up until that point, I really thought I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen men call other men misogynists. I’ve seen men try to destroy another man’s reputation because he called his own country’s women beautiful. Even all of this was a huge eye-opener initially because I come from a much less politically correct culture where men only go after each other because a serious wrongdoing—in real life—has been committed.

But what I haven’t yet seen is a man report or threaten to report another man to a federal government agency just because the other man described women using physical adjectives (i.e., “objectifying”). Perhaps this happens all the time, and I’ve just been living in a cave.

To put the icing on the cake, he wasn’t even Brazilian—he was an American guy who was merely living in Brazil. (Before he criticized me, he also criticized Brazilian men for the way they act towards Brazilian women. How’s that for a riddle?)

This kind of stuff makes you wonder what kind of absurdities can one expect in the future. I can only dream of a day when a foreigner in Russia or Ukraine will be criticizing me (a local) for calling the local women sexy and beautiful, which they are, and love to be called. As absurd as that sounds, we can expect that to happen sooner or later.

This brings me to the all important point: when does a man stop being a man? Where are the limits of masculinity? When does masculinity become a mere catch word without any weight to back it up? After all, everything has its limits.

And that moment comes when the man contacts authority to report another man whenever his own life or the life of loved ones isn’t in danger—another words for petty issues. The moment a man contacts the State to report another man for non-essential issues is the moment the man stops being a man.

Think about it. What is the purpose of government agencies such as the police? Police (or some other gov’t agency) is created to deal with problems in society whenever people cannot resolve these various problems by themselves (by negotiating with each other). Long ago, men were able to resolve these societal problems by themselves (in many countries that’s still more or less the case now).

After all, what can the government do that a man cannot? Government is supposed to provide collective security. In a way, it assumes the man’s duties. It takes over man’s responsibilities. Overtime, it even co-opts a man. It supersedes the man, making the man more or less irrelevant.

The more resourceful the man is, the less he needs the government. Conversely, the less resourceful the man is, the less he knows what to do in various situations, the more he needs external help from some government agency. And once the man starts contacting the government because he feels “uncomfortable” how another man might act towards someone else, he has passed the threshold of masculinity. He’s no longer a man. He’s some needy and helpless atomized “individual.”

The brave new liberal world

Towards the end of my very first podcast, my esteemed guest, Quintus Curtius, made an astute remark: he noted that most of the guys who get involved with game and self-improvement (i.e., “manosphere”) are usually from the liberal parts of America: East Coast (New York, Washington DC); and the West Coast (California)).

The locations of my top twitter followers confirms this:

It was a question that was raised but wasn’t really discussed.

This puzzle has a simple answer: it’s due to the prevailing liberal values in the cities and regions where these guys reside. Unlike some of the inner regions (i.e., “Middle America”), America’s coastal regions are known for being very liberal, especially the big cities. San Francisco, California is the most liberal city in the country (maybe even in the world?). New York isn’t that far behind. I heard Toronto, Canada is even worse.

The main aim of the liberal ideology is to create a genderless society where there are no sexes, no polarity, where everyone is “equal”—equally atomic and meaningless. They achieve that by attacking and destroying everything that makes people different: both masculine and feminine values. And they achieve the latter by “correcting” any “injustices,” whenever people act according to their natural biological imperative. That’s the whole purpose of social justice warriors (SJW) and their accomplices.

Since the government needs a justification to exist, people are programmed to contact the authorities for any issues. The government takes over the tasks that a man once could do all by himself.

The government’s aim is fully achieved when a man trades his fellow men for a government authority: the man ceases to be a resourceful being who can handle the problems by himself by confronting the man and telling another man straight to the face the issue instead of immediately crying to the authorities. If authorities didn’t exist, it’s highly doubtful the man in question would confront another man at all. He would probably say nothing.

I’m not saying that we should roll back a couple of centuries and go back to some middle ages replete with kings or vikings, and live in a society that had little laws that guaranteed individual freedoms.

But, what I’m saying is there must be a limit to the definition of masculinity. Words that carry real weight such as masculinity shouldn’t be taken for granted. We must draw the line in the sand. There must be a point where society throws its hands in the air and says, “Enough is enough! Stop being a pussy! Be a man and stand up for yourself!” For something to be considered masculine, it must operate within certain boundaries.

And that line is now firmly defined: it’s taking responsibility for your own actions and confronting whoever made you uncomfortable—whether in real or virtual life—instead of running, crying and ultimately hiding behind some government authority’s back. It shouldn’t be okay to leave something that’s as important as masculinity to just fall where it may.

What kind of society can there be if one calls himself a man but fails to take any responsibility for it? That’s not a society of men, and that’s not a society that represents something grand: that’s a society made up of meaningless and genderless atoms confusingly lost in space. But maybe that’s by design and we’re just beginning to realize that.

Why There’s A Lack Of Strong Masculine Role Models

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Traveling and living in many countries around the world allows you understand the local culture at a very deep and profound level. And one of the key differences between America (and other Western countries) and non-Western countries (e.g., Eastern Europe, Latin America, Middle East, etc) is that in the latter, people seem to mature and grow up much, much quicker. For example, I have many Russian and Ukrainian friends who are already married with several kids, and they’re only in their early-mid 30s (a few are even in their late 20s).

But, most importantly, in Eastern Europe (and this includes Middle East and Latin America), there’s a very different relationship between younger and older men. In those parts of the world, it’s common for a younger guy to have respect and admiration for an older man. Older men serve as mentors with invaluable life experience, experience than younger guys in their 20s simply do not (and cannot) have. The older man knows this and feels perfectly comfortable with this status. This is especially important where a young kid was raised by his single mother and grew up without a male role model.

When I lived in Latin America, I noticed a healthy display of family values and mentorship. It was common for a young guy to solicit an older man for important advice and help on a wide range issues. In many Russian (and other Eastern European) movies, it’s very common to see a male protagonist who’s in his late 30s, 40s, or even 50s. Naturally, he’s a very wise and interesting man. There’s even a common Russian saying that can be roughly translated that “a man truly becomes a man when he turns 40.”

The Western exception

But in the West, things aren’t merely different—they’re the complete opposite. Older men aren’t appreciated for their wisdom and intelligence. In fact, it’s very common for an older, more experienced guy to mimic and act like a younger guy instead of acting comfortable—especially from a position of strength and confidence—with his age and stage in his life.

Long ago, I remember watching a popular American dating show where they had two contestants: a 36-year-old guy and a 58-year-old guy. Both were wealthy multi-millionaires, but the younger guy seemed more confident and put together than the older guy; the older guy was dressed like a college kid and acted like one too.

It was a shame because if only the older guy dressed and acted more like a more experienced and sophisticated man (which he was), he would easily been much more desirable of the two. He was completely sabotaging himself by trying to act like someone thirty years his junior.

Another reason for such different dynamics between cultures is the kind of women the man can attract. In the West, women are taught to value youth over anything else. Popular shows like Sex And The City routinely show older women (cougars) spending time with younger men. Thus, in order to attract women it helps to be young or at least act or look young. In Eastern Europe and Latin America, however, older men are the ones who are sought after because of their increased status, experience and wealth.

That partly explains why the vast majority of Western men are either adolescents in their 20s or older men who still act like they’re in their 20s/30s. I often notice guys saying things like this: “Although I’m [insert any age between 40 and 55], I still look and feel like someone in his mid-30s.” Other times, when he might not explicitly say it, an older guy may still act like a guy in his mid-20s/mid-30s, perhaps as a way to fit in with men who’re younger than him.

As always, all roads lead to culture. Western culture is less about wisdom and experience and more about being young and living in the moment (i.e., “30s/40s are the new 30s/20s.”) Being a strong and independent man who’s comfortable in his own skin—regardless of his age—is all but completely discouraged.

Cultural damage

As a guy who was born elsewhere but mostly grew up in the West, I can certainly relate. I was always afraid of becoming older, and, in the process, very, very scared of growing up. And I’m not referring to turning 50 or 60, even the mere thought of reaching my late 30s felt like reaching the end of life.

When I was 28, I remember a friend complaining that when he tried to go to a nice club, he stopped and turned around after seeing a bunch of men in their late 30s waiting in the line to get in. That meant we were young guys, but apparently late 30s was too old.

That also meant I had a good ten years or so to go that club before some 28 year old would start making fun of me. From then on, my biggest fear became to one day turn 38. I mean, what was the point of continuing living past your late thirties if you could no longer go to that club without some younger kid making fun of you?

This phenomenon can explain why I still reminisce about my Brazilian life so much. I was a young(er) guy who was going out and having fun. I didn’t have a single care in the world. I also considered it to be the best times of my life. After all, how can life ever get any better than that?

Role model conundrum

While a man instinctively knows what to do in his teens and twenties, that changes as he reaches his 30s; the things that he has been doing now bring him increasingly less fulfillment and joy. He wants to do (or at least try) something new, but he doesn’t know what.

Worse of all, he doesn’t even know where to look; he’s surrounded by other men who’re in the exact same boat as him. He has climbed a peak of a mountain, but has no knowledge or tools to keep going and possibly reach even a higher peak. He just needs to know that what awaits him is at least as fulfilling as what he’s been experiencing up to this point.

In a way, what you have is a conundrum, a catch-22. Young people don’t have masculine role models because the older generation that’s supposed to be mentoring them didn’t have role models growing up. It’s a vicious cycle that keeps repeating itself.

The richer life

Fortunately, it’s possible to break the cycle. Instead of being stuck in some past, the man must learn to embrace life with renewed vigor and energy as he enters a new stage in his life. Life should become richer and more fulfilling as you spent more time on this planet and accumulate more knowledge and experience.

On my last week in Serbia last year, I met a French-Congolese black belt. He traveled all over the world and spoke six languages. Like me, he also lived in Brazil. As he was getting ready to leave, I asked him a question that I ask everyone who used to live in Brazil: “Do you ever plan on going back?”

He took a deep breath, paused, let out a big smile, and exclaimed before heading off, “Those were fun times, but I’m too old for it now!”

While he wasn’t that old (34), that was his way of saying that he had moved on and entered a new phase in his life. It made sense. These days he’s busy trying to build his own export/import business and even start his own BJJ academy one day.

Another example is a good friend whom I’ve known since we were both 16. While we had a lot of fun back in our teenage years and early 20s, I can’t help to notice that his life is much richer and more interesting now (he’s 35). He’s running several businesses. He’s traveling from country to country while trying to clinch new deals. He goes to nice lounges and private networking parties. He has a nice house in America and an apartment in Europe.

Even though he had great times in his younger years, I really doubt he’s spending his time reminiscing about some distant path.

Fixing priorities

In my own case, I realized that my worries were about complete nonsense. The problem were my priorities and values—or rather lack of them. After all, who says that I would even want to go to that club when I would be 38? Why the heck would you? Shouldn’t you have better things now that you’re ten years older—like, perhaps, owning that club?

The way I now see it is that life is a series of chapters. A new chapter can only begin once the previous chapter ends. There are things that I was doing when I was 15 that I was no longer doing when I was 20. There are things that I was doing when I was 20 that I stopped doing when I turned 25. And there many things I did when I was 25 that I don’t do at 35.

For example, throughout my twenties, I stayed in hostels, but now I like the comfort (and privacy) of a private accommodation. Even if I could always justify it—which isn’t hard as I’ve seen plenty of older guys staying in hostels—I just don’t want to stay at hostels. It doesn’t feel right anymore. I grew out of hostels.

And not just hostels: I grew out of many of the things that I used to do.

Positive and inspiring force

Most importantly, men that have made the all important leap and crossed the chasm represent something greater than themselves: they’re a positive and inspiring force in a world devoid of any purpose or meaning because their wisdom and experience could be utilized for a very noble cause. They could mentor younger guys on various things, especially if the younger guys never had a strong masculine role model while growing up.

They represent an idea that it’s actually possible to build something meaningful and fulfilling in the present and future and not live a shadow of a life that consists of constant reminders of how great things were in the past.

This way, when younger guys are having trouble crossing the chasm and entering a new stage in their lives, they can always be assured of having a strong masculine role model that will help guide them making this crucial transition.

Unfortunately, these older and experienced men will never become such a positive force in the society until it’s no longer commonly accepted that being older, wiser and more sophisticated is somehow negative and undesirable. And that will do wonders of transforming our culture of boys into a culture of men.


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